The Belmont Abbey baseball team scored four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to erase a 9-4 deficit and Weston Clarke nailed down his third save as the Crusaders extended their winning streak to four with a 12-9 win at Mars Hill this afternoon. Belmont Abbey sweeps the season series from the Lions as it improves to 17-23.
Mars Hill bolted ahead 7-1 after three innings as the Lions exploded for six in the bottom of the first after Anthony Dimino's sacrifice fly in the top of the inning gave the Crusaders the early lead.
In the fourth the Crusaders closed the lead to 7-4 as they scored three times on back-to-back homers. Levi Wright's two run shot was followed by Kennan Stanley's solo round tripper to close the Lions lead to 7-4.
Mars Hill stretched its lead to 9-4 with two runs in the sixth, but the Lions did not score again as the Crusaders offense came alive in the seventh and eighth innings to surge ahead and win the game.
In the seventh, Jon Pilla produced an RBI single, followed by Dimino's two RBI double, and then capped off by Clarke's single that chased home Dimino to cut the Mars Hill lead to 9-8
The Lions threatened in the seventh but did not score, and the Crusaders kept the offensive momentum going in the eighth to surge ahead.
The rally started on a three run homer by Ian Vazquez, his second of the year to close the that gave the Abbey an 11-9 lead. Two batters later, Clarke made it 12-9 as his scorching double to right scored Dimino, who walked immediately after Vazquez's homer then stole second and third.
Clarke came in to pitch the ninth and worked around two hits but did not give up a run to record his third save.
Matt Davenport, the sixth of eight Crusaders pitchers, moved to 2-0 as he struck out one and allowed just one hit in an inning of work.
Mars Hill reliever Andy Runion, the third of four pitchers, was saddled with the loss after allowing three unearned runs on three hits in a third of an inning.
Belmont Abbey rapped out 15 hits as Clarke and Wright both finished with three. Dimino, Vazquez and Lorenzo Wright each had two.